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North Face VP Of Global Marketing Now Gets To Lead The Brand He Loved As A Kid
Get To Know: North Face VP of Global Marketing Aaron Carpenter
Serving as the vice president of global marketing for North Face, Aaron Carpenter is tasked with managing all aspects of the popular brand’s marketing efforts, including digital, advertising and in-store marketing. He also oversees the brand’s sports marketing initiatives and its global marketing research.
During his tenure with North Face, Carpenter has been part of the executive team that has grown the global company from $1B to $2B in five years time.
“My earliest accounts of The North Face products occurred as a child in the Bay Area where I grew up skiing and backpacking with my family,” writes Carpenter, “Even then, I loved the brand. Even then, I was inspired.”
Last November, the brand launched its largest campaign in company history. Known as the See for Yourself campaign, North Face aims to protect, preserve and celebrate public lands in support of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC).
“We are hoping to connect with people emotionally about the idea of exploration and to inspire them to see all of the amazing public lands our nation has to offer,” says Carpenter, “We are proud to raise awareness and support the 21CSC through this initiative.”
See for Yourself is a widespread campaign that includes partnerships with the Department of the Interior, Outside Magazine, and the band My Morning Jacket, which recorded a cover of the iconic song “This Land Is Your Land” as part of the campaign efforts.
Proceeds from the song’s download, along with a $250,000 donation from North Face were donated to the initiative to help create jobs for youth and returning veterans through 21CSC projects on public lands.
What mobile device can you not live without?
My Apple 6 plus.
Can we take a peek at your phone’s home screen?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
Instagram – it helps me keep track of our athletes and expeditions.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
Instagram – it’s the easiest to use and I’m a sucker for great photos and videos, plus it’s what my kids and friends use most.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
Weather – it’s our number one variable.
Take me through your typical workday.
Up early, check emails from home. Ideally bike or run to work. Do our daily team check in meeting to start, see how our latest campaign is doing in social media, put out a fire here or there, then often head to the airport for an event, trade show, or shoot. I do a fair amount of traveling.
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
The Olympics (our first ever) where we made the uniforms for the U.S. Freeskiing team, and the great coverage we’ve gotten on our Fall campaign with My Morning Jacket.
What does your office look like – sentimental items you can tell us about?
Our PR director found the photographer who took the photos of the first TNF store opening in North Beach in 1968 where the Grateful Dead played and Hells Angels worked the door. I have a framed print of the photo that I love.
How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?
Oh man, not sure, but it’s a lot, probably 75K. I got to travel to Jackson Hole and climb the Grand Teton with Jimmy Chin and Conrad Anker last August. Climbing with those guys is always an adventure and keeps me grounded in the important things in life.
What work challenge keeps you up at night?
Keeping the brand growing authentically as we expand around the globe.
Can you tell us about a campaign or work project you’d like to do over?
Wow, there’s a lot, but our first ecomm launch in 2008 would have been a lot different if could have rewound the clock.
Tell me about the people who have been most influential in your career.
Larry Ruff at Levi’s had a big impact on me in terms of learning how to balance the art and science of marketing.
Scott Bedbury’s book A New Brand World was very influential in how I look at brands and making emotional connections with people.
Steve Rendle has given me a lot of good advice on learning to scale brands globally.
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
The ability to drive focus while at the same time remaining flexible enough to adjust to the dynamic global marketplace.
Can you tell us something about yourself that your team would be surprised to know?
I once got put in jail near Amsterdam after being accused of forging dates on a Eurail pass. Long story, honest mistake.
Why did you go into marketing?
In grad school I loved the challenge of using creative communications to launch and grow businesses. I got a chance to do it for real at Levi’s as an intern and was hooked immediately.
I think I am lucky to have both right and left brain sides to my thinking.
What other career would you like to try and why?
I look at our pro athletes and every day I say to myself – “I want that job!” so pro athlete. I could also see doing some teaching in the future.
What’s the last business book you read & what did you think of it?
Cradle to Cradle – it completely changed the way I think about product creation.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign or video caught your eye recently?
Vans did an awesome video with the launch of their Star Wars line that showed Chewbaca winning a skate competition that was hilarious. Check it out: